Selling TVA wouldn’t do much, if anything, to limit the federal debt, but it could push electric rates higher in the Tennessee Valley, according to an outside financial review of the America’s biggest government utility.

A new study released today by financial analysts at Lazard Freres & Co., LLC, recommends against trying to sell TVA. In a 139-page report given to White House budget planners, Lazard says TVA is improving its fiscal health and won't need to boost borrowings above the Congressionally imposed limit.

Lazard has suggested other federal agencies be sold or privatized in the past. But the consultants concluded that TVA and its ratepayers are better off under the current federal ownership and governance at TVA than they would be if the utility were sold or converted to private ownership.

"TVA's current strong financial position, ability to self-fund its construction program and anticipated improvements in cost structure, environmental profile and asset mix as a result of long-term initiatives suggest there is no impetus for the federal government to change course," Lazard concluded.

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